September 21, 2011

Thoughts on endings

"Endings are never easy; I always build them up so much in my head they cant possibly live up to my expectations, and I just end up disappointed"

This is the quote of Dr. John Dorian (JD) from Scrubs in the last episode of the series. Scrubs was the story of an over-grown man-child who - in the entire series - craved for the love and approval from his work-mates.

A close friend mentioned to me last week that I lack an 'office face'. I am the same person whether I am at office or at home. The following weekend, I happened to watch few episodes of Scrubs the following weekend. And just like a jigsaw puzzle, the pieces fit together. For some reason, I identified myself with JD. It seemed as if I have unknowingly modeled myself after him. The day-dreaming, the ability to make friends, the unending desire to make people like me, the characteristic of not looking serious.

This particular video tells about JD's thoughts when he leaves his beloved workplace after eight long years. I wondered if I had felt the same when I left my previous 'homes'.

We had our school send-off in March. It was a couple of weeks before the board exams and the endless stream of entrance exams after that. The school send-off was a blur. I remember not feeling sentimental at all. To some extent, I was waiting for the day when I would leave school. I was confident about having better things to look forward to. I wasn't wrong. While I did lose touch with a lot of school friends, I made as many new ones at IIT. The crowd was different, but equally friendly and loving. Did I know that I would love IIT when I left school? No. Did I know I would even be in IIT when I left school? No. But that didn't stop me from loving the thought of leaving school. I guess there was a certain fascination for the unknown.

My family shifted from Alibag to Mumbai just two days after my board exams. Again, the send-off was a blur. I literally helped mom and dad get all the bags into the new house and left for my coaching class. There was no time to say goodbyes. The lack of goodbyes did not seem to matter to me. I was perfectly able to move on with life without any hiccup. (As I write this, I cannot help but think of another friend's comment on me, "You are heart-less and emotion-less").

Then came the time to leave IIT. This was one story that did not went as per plan. I ended up leaving it later than I was supposed to. The extra time spent in the institute only made me want to leave the place as soon as possible. It was a disturbing time. I did not trust my own judgement and that feeling scared the hell out of me. In all life-changing situations, I have managed to go though them unscathed only because I believed in myself, in my instinct, in my judgement. But this was a period that I wasn't sure of what I was doing. I was entirely dependent upon friends/mentors. The situation got to me towards the end. It was unbearable and for the first time ever, I was counting days, hours, minutes to leaving Chennai. There was an itching to leave the city, the institute, the place which ruined five years of priceless memories with six months of wretchedness.

Just like leaving school, I ended up losing touch with a lot of friends. Just like leaving school, I ended up making a lot of new ones. Things fell into place very well. Change was for the better, no doubt.

JD says in the video "And even though it felt warm and safe, I knew it had to end. Its never good to live in the past too long." I never felt warm and safe when it was upon me that I was going to leave the place. It was always a point of no return. Every time, the decision to leave was made a while back and there was no U-turn. This particular thought removed the warmth and safety of the place. It is probably this that makes me look forward to the uncertain future and forget about the wonderful past.

Will there be a time when I leave this place? Perhaps, perhaps not. But what I do know is that if and when that day comes, it will come because something better is in store for me. How do I know this? I don't. But I am programmed to think that way. I have always looked forward to change, and I don't plan on changing that. I will leave you with the rest of the monologue by JD.

"Endings are never easy; I always build them up so much in my head they cant possibly live up to my expectations, and I just end up disappointed. Im not even sure why it matters to me so much how things end here
I guess its because we all want to believe that what we do is very important, that people hang onto our every word, that they care what we think. The truth is: you should consider yourself lucky if you even occasionally get to make someone, anyone, feel a little better. After that its all about the people that you let into your life.."

April 21, 2010

April Adventures

The last month of the even semester in IITM is dominated by 2 things: Hostel nights and End Semester exams. If you are a final year student, you only care about by the former.

The hostel nights can sometimes become a bit of a rut. I mean, unlimited drinks, fags and dancing into the night is awesome fun. But doing that 8-10 nights in a row can be a tough ask. Thankfully, this year's hostel night calendar produced a number of surprises for me.

It all started with a quest. A quest to visit the forbidden corridors of that hostel. After all, this was my last chance. And to be honest, with the developments over the last year, it was perhaps my best chance. Over the last half-decade I have lost practice of talking to the species residing in the aforementioned hostel. So, to ensure that I don't blow up my chances, I meticulously framed a 3-step process with feedback at every stage which reduced the number of errors. 3 Targets were zeroed upon.

Target no. 1 was SMSed an invite to my hostel night. I expected the offer to be either ignored or declined or (fingers crossed) reciprocated by an invite to Target no. 1's hostel night. But Target no. 1 instead told that she had already been invited and didn't need another invite.

Before I went after Target no. 2, I decided to remove SMS as a medium of communication. It gave the Target a lot of time to find an excuse. So Target no. 2 was instead talked to over Gtalk. After Target no. 2 was invited, she replied back with a "Thank You". I waited with a bated breath for something more to come. I waited, and I waited. I replied "You want to say something more??", and at that moment, the green dot next to Target no. 2's name on my Gtalk list turned Grey. Whether she became invisible, or had a net connection problem, I will never know.

I was at the third and final stage of my 3-step process. Foolproof plans had to be made this time. But somehow no schemes came to mind. The quest seemed to be finished at this point. And the fortress unconquered. But thankfully, God intervened. Target no. 3 herself called and invited me over. It was pretty anti-climactic. But what the hell, All's well that ends well.

That hostel night however wasn't at all anything how I played it in my mind. The hallowed corridors were nothing different than any other corridor. The rooms are the same, in fact so small, they seem like a jail cell. In hindsight, perhaps the 5 year wait heightened my expectations too much.

After this there was another quest. An unfinished one from last time. Due to circumstances beyond our control, our wing couldn't make a wing video in time. Amends had to be made this time. Just a wing video wasn't enough, it had to be the wing video of the year. To make the wing video different than the rest, it was decided to sing the song ourselves. And yours truly was drafted in to be one of the lead singers. Apparently, I was not good enough to help out for the wing video in any other way. My singing expertise is limited to one stage performance in 1995 and incessant bathroom singing ever since. But history aside, my voice was a perfect foil to droopy's slow drawl and pogo's energetic loud notes. The recording sessions were simply a laugh riot. The combination of hilarious lyrics and witty friends meant that we couldn't sing one line without keeping our faces straight. It took us more than a day to get just 5 minutes of lines right. You can check out the video here:

Mandak night also threw up a few surprises this time. For a change, there were more XY-chromosomed species this year than all the earlier 4 years together. The added bonus of celebrating Uss's birthday same night made it all the more special and spectacular. A number of small incidents happened after that. Unfortunately, they are not as funny and are indeed too personal to share.

Mandak night was followed by Godav night. I promised myself not to get wasted like the previous 2 days and return to room at 10 PM like a good boy. But what happened twice, had to happen thrice (Borrowed from Paulo Coelho's The Alchemist. This actually is becoming one of my favorite quotes). In no time, I had downed - well, my parents might read this so lets not go into how many milliliters of what and other details, instead lets use the word - inordinate amounts of alcohol. And in this drunken haze, my host for Godav night started a Marathi movie by the name, "Yanda Kartavya Ahe" (Its literal translation is - Taking responsibility, in the context of the movie it means, that the person is ready for marriage). Rated 9.3 on IMDB, the movie is a sweet romantic comedy and showcases the life of an arranged marriage couple during their honeymoon. I am a sucker for rom-coms anyways, but given the special circumstances currently in my family - with all my elder cousins having found their soul-mates and me having just ended the 'golden' period in my life - this movie was also vital in terms of possible preparation for my future. Anyways, the movie is a must-see for no-hopers in their love life and for anyone who appreciates good cinema.

January 28, 2010

A rant against eye wear

A very happy new year 2010 to all. The madness of the last few months - which deserve a separate blog post - combined with my laziness did not let me update my blog. Yesterday night, this article posted by my ex-roommate got me thinking. This article digresses on various niceties of one's Facebook profile picture, but the thing that caught my eye was "Eye contact". A lot of people from various disciplines stress about eye contact. It can be used as a tool for flirting, mental sledging, impressing during an interview, communicating and whatnot. There are studies which link eye contact to issues as diverse as falling in love and social anxiety disorders. Clearly, eye contact is an integral part of human life.

I always thought I used to be good at eye contact. Till puberty hit, and suddenly, my gaze shifted lower while talking to people of the opposite sex. It took a while to finally get used to this extra gravitational force and look up again. By the time I did, most of them seemed to have contracted myopia and had gone bespectacled. The wearers eventually got used to it but I somehow couldn't. Most of my close relatives had never worn spectacles till then. I never spoke a word against their new accoutre, but I never felt right about it. Something had changed.

Now, the same friend has recently come back from home and is sporting new spectacles. Another close friend has put up a Facebook profile pic of her wearing glasses. This time, I must let you all know how much I hate sunglasses and spectacles.

Eyes are man's foremost method of communication. Some people can orate very well, some write very well, but for the rest of us, eyes are our only tool to portray true emotions. Most of the famous scenes in movies have the protagonists facing off each other only looking into each others' eyes. Putting anything in the way of your eyes, is directly stepping into the way of God.

Has anybody ever heard of an eye contact while wearing spectacles. It is impossible to have an in-depth personal discussion with anyone who wears glasses. It just doesn't feel right. It seems artificial. As for aesthetics, spectacles make you look older.

While I am on the subject of aesthetics and spectacles, let me also vent out against sun-glasses. In my book, they are worse than spectacles. Sun-glasses do not make you look cool, rather, they make you look cold and aloof. It is impossible to talk to a person while he/she is wearing sun glasses without half of your mind wondering, "Is he/she even listening? Where is he/she looking?". Sun-glasses should be used only when absolutely necessary, say when you are at some place covered in snow.

To all spectacle users, please think about laser-eye surgery or contact lenses. Not only are both the options cheaper in the long run, they make you look better. To all sun-glasses users, don't you want to be able to walk on the road without tripping on every alternate step.

It feels good to let all this out. Yes, it does.

October 22, 2009

Alak Hub!! Where art thou?

Warning: This post might seem utter balderdash to most people. Some others should be able to connect to it.

So, Alak Hub was down tonight. There was no anagrams in the week quizzes are over. It sucked. No 20 question rounds, no team games, no "aaaaaa", no "nasjfnbsjf", no "(swear word censored to account for the possbility of parents reading this, you know they also add me on facebook)", no "gawd ra", no "n1". It seemed my night-life on thursdays had reached a dead-end. So, I decided to amuse myself on the other working hub (Adroit hub). The following questions are the result of an active collaboration between me, my joblessness, Rahul, his joblessness, Tharun and his joblessness.

Here are these questions

Question 1 of 20: When will alak hub start?
Question 2 of 20: Why doesn't Adroit hub have anagrams?
Question 3 of 20: If Alak hub has no anagrams, will we love it so much?
Question 4 of 20: Bhaisaab, Hum chlor-mint kyun khaate hai?
Question 5 of 20: Why do some stupid people ask hint for Question 4 of 20?
Question 6 of 20: Which of the following services provided by gurunath are now superfluous?
Option 1: Train ticket booking.
Option 2: Flight booking.
Option 3: Vodafone recharge.
Option 4: Sale of Veg, Egg puff and LMN.

Question 7 of 20: Which is the best mess in Himalaya?
Question 8 of 20: Why do random people pretend to be girls on Adroit hub?
Question 9 of 20: What was Question 1 of 20?
Question 10 of 20: Find the psychological relationship between Rahul's chair and anagrams?
Question 11 of 20: Why don't jobless junta play games on websites like instead of playing on facebook and cluttering my homepage?
Question 12 of 20: Is it just me or the BCG shortlist is really short on the number of insti heavyweights?
Question 13 of 20: Should I give up on placements and concentrate on CAT instead?
Question 14 of 20: If a graph were to be plotted of the pathetic-ness of these questions vs question number and curve-fitting techniques be used, what will be the equation of the curve y(x)?
Question 15 of 20: Is net working?
Question 16 of 20: If Robin Scherbatsky says "Apples and Oranges" on facebook, 92 people like it. If I list out all the fruits on my facebook status, how many people will like it?
Question 17 of 20: Why are you still reading these questions?
Question 18 of 20: Is this is the most awesome video ever to be posted on facebook?
Question 19 of 20: Anyone for FIFA 09?
Question 20 of 20: Is this over?

June 5, 2009

Truly honoured

Yesterday, I got a friend request on orkut from an old teacher of mine, My 10th class coaching class professor, Mr. Ashutosh Karmarkar. I used to attend Suyash Classes (his organization) back in 2002 and 2003. I must have attended hardly 10-15 classes taught by him.

Inspite of perennial irregularity and substandard performance in the prelims and the final board exams (90% is not exactly path-breaking in SSC Boards), I found this in the "about me" section of his profile.Truly honoured sir!! Truly honoured!! It has been 6 years since I left Suyash Classes, the fact that Ashutosh Sir still remembers me and considers me as one of the most impressive candidates means a lot. A lot!!!! I haven't managed to impress too many teachers during my school time. This is rare, and extremely special.

Ashutosh Sir, if you are reading this, here's a promise: I would try my level best to live upto your expectations and you will never regret holding me in such high regard. Thank you so much!!

May 21, 2009

Turning 22

Its a day I eagerly wait for every year. A day, I wish was 48-hour long; or repeated every 6 months. A day, when I enjoy being the center of attention. A day, when I wake up at 7 AM, take an early morning bath and pray to God. A day, when no bad news can ever upset me. A day, which I like so much, that I am blogging about it 4 days in advance :). This time, its not going to be any different.

Every year, when I pray to God, I wish good luck, blessings for all my loved ones. For myself, I wish for a just reward in return of my efforts. Its probably one of the few times, when I sincerely pray to God, and honestly seek His blessings.

However this year, when I go to the temple, I am going to ask for directions. Directions in life. Directions of where to go, and what to do ! !

Over the last few months, a large number of people have asked me, "So Sumedh, what would you do after IIT?" or variations of the same question. And every time, I have come up with "I hope to figure it out soon" or variations of the same answer. The more I think about this, the more clueless I become. Countless times, I have tried to think of possible alternatives, but nothing seems to be 'THE' thing. May be, I haven't searched whole-heartedly. Or its just a pro-longer period of bad luck. But, its getting to a point where I MUST be worried about it. So much, that I positively dread what am I going to be doing when I turn 23.

So, my sincere prayers this time are going to be for myself, just some hint, some indication as to what I should do after graduation. Some obvious clue, some discernable leads, some semblance of an answer to the dreaded question.

May 12, 2009

Back To Bombay

I don't know why I havt titled this post as "Back to" Bombay. You come "back to" a place only if you have stayed there for a significant amount of time in the recent past.

Through the last 4 years, I have had the opportunities to visit many many new places. And I can't be more thankful to God for that. All such places have given me only great memories, great new friends. So much, that I actually don't know what to say when people ask "Where are you from?". I generally answer Chennai. But somehow, that answer never seemed right.

Now, I am in Bombay (FYI: I call this megalopolis 'Bombay' while talking in Hindi or English & Mumbai while conversing in Marathi). I haven't stayed at this place since 1993. And memories of when you were just 6 years old are obviously very very faded. So technically, even Bombay should feel like a new place to me. However, the 1st 10 days have belied these expctations.

There is an air of familiraity this time. For the first time in almost an year, autowallahs know a language which I know too. I somehow remember many of the roads, bus numbers, train stations. 
Travelling in this city has seemed like reminiscing with an old friend. People here lead stressful lives from 9 to 5. More strenous than any other city in India. But, almost everyone I know takes back home a smiling face and an appreicable amount of vigor still left in him or her. 
This city invigorates you like no other place does. After my first week, I thought I might end up sleeping the entire weekend. Instead, what transpired was a fantastic sunday with old school chums at Marine Drive. Inshallah, I will have many such fun weekends in this city. If the first 10 days are anything to go by, these 2 months are going to be something!!